If someone asked me to recommend the most healing plant of all time, I would have to recommend comfrey. However, I’d have to qualify that to some extent, because due to certain alkaloids found in most comfrey, it should not be taken internally.
But for topical use, there is nothing better. Added to a cream base, studies prove that it even outperforms conventional topical medications. So, when should you use it?
- For trauma, bruises, sprains, strains, back pain, minor wounds, bee stings, insect bites, and pain or burns of any kind. While all comfrey can be beneficial, look for a comfrey cream made with a special cultivar called (Symphytum x uplandicum NYMAN), otherwise known as “Trauma Comfrey.”
- To relieve swelling and inflammation
- For blunt or open injuries. Trauma Comfrey is especially safe for open wounds because it provides highly concentrated healing compounds but does not contain any toxic alkaloids.
Comfrey has been recognized for its healing properties since medieval times, however, comfrey became much less popular in the last few years with the recognition that this plant – especially the roots – contains compounds that can be extremely toxic to the liver. In the past, comfrey’s use has been limited because of compounds common to the root of comfrey called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). These natural chemicals are part of a plant’s defenses and are known to be toxic to the liver. But now, thanks to a wonderful blend of age-old wisdom and modern plant science, there is a type of comfrey that avoids this problem altogether. As I mentioned, this variety of comfrey, known as Symphytum x uplandicum NYMAN, has been designated as Trauma Comfrey by the German Health authorities as a specialized species similar to issuing a patent. Trauma Comfrey is specifically cultivated in the fields of a former monastery to be completely free of PA content. Additionally, only the juice from the aerial parts – leaves, stems, and flowers, which are naturally PA-free to begin with – are used. The roots are not used. In a 2008 medical journal article, researchers reported that when analyzed with the latest techniques and equipment – including liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry – not even a trace of PAs was found in either the leaves and flowers of Trauma Comfrey or its extract. Although the comfrey cream isn’t intended to be eaten or used internally, you certainly could do so with no harm. These specialized leaves, stems, and flowers are then processed into a potent whole-plant juice within hours after harvesting. Meanwhile, the carefully-tended plants remaining in the field are continuously checked and double-checked to detect any toxic heavy metals, pesticides, cancer-causing aflatoxins, or contamination from any other less-rigidly cultivated comfrey plants that could be growing within a distance of the monastery grounds in which the comfrey is grown.
So, how does comfrey actually work? It does many things and addresses wounds and bruises – even bone damage – in a variety of ways.
Aside from soothing pain, comfrey slows down damage to tissues and boosts tissue regeneration. It quickly and efficiently rebuilds damaged blood, bone, and flesh – the exact response you need for wounds, sores, burns, cuts, scrapes, bites, stings, rashes, swollen tissue, sprains, and broken bones. In fact, the popular folklore names for comfrey give you a pretty good idea of what it has been used for in the past: knitback, bruisewort (wort meaning plant), knitbone, and boneset.
Three of the major players in Trauma Comfrey’s team of winning compounds are allantoin, choline, and rosamarinic acid.
- Allantoin quickly stimulates the rebuilding of cells and regenerates damaged tissue. It can actually travel through the skin all the way to tendons, cartilage and bone.
- Choline helps injured blood vessels and nerve endings recover faster, and improves the pumping of healing blood through inflamed tissues.
- Rosmarinic acid fights inflammation, stops fluid loss as a result of injury, and slows down cell damage.
This comfrey cream has shown remarkable abilities for treating blunt sports injuries and bruises, healing open wounds (and in one study reduced pain by 50 percent and reduced the healing time in half), easing muscle pain and improving mobility, and soothing knee and ankle sprains and strains. In fact, in a controlled, double-blind, randomized, multicenter study of 203 patients suffering from acute ankle sprain and pain, this comfrey cream reduced pain by half in just three days. Another study involved men and eight women with “contusions and distortions of the knee joint” – bruised and sprained knees – who were treated with Trauma comfrey cream 12 hours after getting injured, on average.
The Many Benefits of Trauma Comfrey:
|Kills or slows down the growth of bacteria
|Stops fluid loss from cells from inflammation or injury
|Fights fungal invaders
|Prevents, stops, or reduces inflammation
|Kills or retards the growth of infection-causing microorganisms
|Draws tissue together, restricting the flow of blood, and speeds healing
|Softens the skin
|Helps the body balance internal and external stress
|Arrests bleeding by contracting blood vessels
|Invigorates and restores health
|Heals fresh wounds
In clinical studies, comfrey cream has been shown to heal abrasions, relieve injuries and sprains in the shoulders and knees, and reduce swelling. It has been accepted as safe and effective by the German health authorities similar to our FDA. It is safe for children aged 4 and older, so parents and kids alike can use it with confidence. To me, it’s like having an entire medical kit from just one plant.